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Accountants and solicitors encouraged to work together

'We all need to think about whether we are order takers or true advisers'

21 August 2015

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The managing partner of a chartered accountancy firm has challenged solicitors to embrace collaboratively working with other professional advisers.

John Painter, managing partner of CB Chartered Accountants, said that in areas where solicitors may not have specialist knowledge such as business structures, capital allowances, VAT and capital gains tax, they should refer their clients to specialist professional advisers.

'As a client, I wouldn't expect my solicitor to know the detail of those issues. What I would expect is that they know these are issues and to raise the question of accountancy advice', he said.

'It's understandable that there is scepticism about closer liaison between solicitors and accountants, but we all need to think about whether we are order takers or true advisers. If our firms are to grow, it has to be the latter.'

Solicitors and accountants have historically occupied similar territory, each referring their clients to one another.

But this relationship (arguably) changed when the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales became authorised to license accountancy firms to conduct probate work in August 2014.

This gave accountants the ability do probate for the first time.

While this 'points the way to the future', Painter believes that a lack of an Alternative Business Structure (ABS) should not stand in the way of collaborative work today.

'It's all about offering the client more. Working together reduces the chance of limited or blinkered advice and enhances the likelihood of the client growing and achieving their personal and corporate goals.'

He added: 'The rise of the ABS is a pointer to the future. But a non-ABS structure should in no way be a barrier to innovation. Solicitors who want to become the first choice for property and construction clients need to think outside the box and be open to working collaboratively with accountants to move their own and their clients' firms forward. It's a win-win situation.'


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